55th Anniversary Opera Extravaganza

Performance Dates

Friday, April 7 @ 8:00 PM – Discovery Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, April 8 @ 8:00 PM – Discovery Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Sunday, April 9 @ 4:00 PM – Discovery Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts

For TICKETS call (907) 263-ARTS (2787) or online CLICK HERE

About the Show


Jill & Jake Gardner

Lights! Camera! EXTRAVAGANZA! Join us for this milestone commemoration as we pull out all the stops to mark our 55th Anniversary. Revel in a tidal wave of sound and sensation as the Anchorage Opera Orchestra & Chorus perform a hit parade of famous and familiar melodies by Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bellini, Offenbach…& more, from Aida, Norma, Turandot, Lakme, Nabucco, Suor Angelica, Tales of Hoffman, Cosi fan tutte…& more! Marvel at famous Guest Artists, including international stars and dynamic husband and wife duo, Jake and Jill Gardnerpowerhouse tenor, Dinyar Vania and rising mezzo soprano star, Sandra Piques EddyCheer for a wealth of Anchorage talent as they deliver unforgettable performances with engaging stage direction by Anchorage favorite, Teresa Pond. Be amazed by the Alaska Dance Theatre’s beautiful choreography, and more surprises!




Brian DeMaris, Conductor


An evening that will make your spirit soar and remain in your memory long after the curtain goes down, with returning audience favorite, Brian DeMaris conducting.






Jill Gardner in review: “Rarely, however, are great voice, interpretive intellect, and beauty of spirit blended in a single individual as compellingly as they are in Jill Gardner” —VOIX des ARTS …”When it came time for Tosca to confront Scarpia, Gardner turned in a Mad Scene worthy of Maria Callas.” —Rochester Democratic and Chronicle “Gardner has a large, richly toned, burgundy voice, and her performance in this demanding role is worth the price of a ticket all by itself” —Honolulu Star-Advertiser “Gardner sang a full-bodied performance with magnificent projection, a lyrico spinto, Puccini girl through and through.” —The Grand Rapids Press  Jake Gardner in review: “Words fail with Baritone Jake Gardner who did not play his roles so much as became them – wonderful voice, wonderful actor.”            —Honolulu Advertiser “…Jake Gardner is a standout: His voice conveys power and authority, a perfect match in every way for the role of Germont.” —Epoch Times “Jake Gardner fleshed out the role of Judge Turpin fully…The bass-baritone’s voice had terrific vitality…His was a first-class achievement all around.” —Opera News “…Violetta’s true vocal match was Germont, cast perfectly and sung wonderfully by Jake Gardner, whose rich baritone made him an exceptionally sympathetic antagonist.” —Opera News “….Wotan’s Farewell was emotionally draining. Gardner was every inch a God, vocally and dramatically, shaping and colouring the words.” —Opera Jill & Jake Gardner make their Alaskan debut with Anchorage Opera this season, but the extensive (& impressive) list of companies where they have already performed include: Virginia Opera, Eugene Opera, Houston Grand Opera, North Carolina Opera, Mill City Summer Opera, Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Grand Rapids, Arizona Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Tri-Cities Opera, New York City Opera, Columbus Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera, LA Opera, Central City Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Opera Cleveland, Oper Köln, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, Budapest Festival, Théâtre du Châtelet, Komische Oper Berlin, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Colorado, Vancouver Opera, San Diego Opera, New York Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Scottish Opera, Edinburgh International Festival, Oper Stuttgart, Michigan Opera Theatre, Toledo Opera, Fresno Grand Opera, Townsend Opera, Opera Coeur d’Alene, Chautauqua Opera, Piedmont Opera, Baltimore Lyric Opera, Opera Carolina, Greensboro Opera, Madison Opera, New York Opera Projects, Syracuse Opera & Mercury Opera Rochester. For more about all their accomplishments check out Jill Gardner‘s website: CLICK HERE and Jake Gardner‘s website: CLICK HERE


Dinyar Vania, tenor

Dinyar Vania, has recently emerged as one of the country’s most exciting young tenors and makes his debut with Anchorage Opera.  With a voice that combines both power and beauty, he has earned critical acclaim portraying several of the most beloved roles in opera, including Cavaradossi in Tosca, Don José in Carmen, Alfredo in La Traviata, the Duke in Rigoletto, Rodolfo in La bohème, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, Cassio in Otello, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West. No stranger to new works, Mr. Vania Ettore appeared in the world premiere of Kimmo Hakola’s La Fenice with the Savolinna Festival and as Ovidio in Martín’s Before Night Falls with Florida Grand Opera. He made his Carnegie Hall debut as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, which he has also sung with the Harrisburg Symphony. Other concert appearances include singing as soloist with the Naples Philharmonic in a gala holiday series, and with the Jacksonville Symphony in an all-Verdi evening. In 2015, Mr. Vania was honored as a distinguished alumni by Onondaga Community College, naming him as one their ‘Alumni Faces’ for his professional achievements and contributions to the college and community. He has also been awarded Syracuse Opera’s ‘Artist of the Year’ award, First Place in the Giulio Gari Vocal Competition, Second Prize in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition and was a semi-finalist in Placido Domingo’s Operalia in Madrid, Spain. For more about Dinyar Vania visit his website: CLICK HERE




Sandra Piques Eddy, mezzo soprano

Sandra Piques Eddy, also makes her debut with Anchorage Opera. With over 100 performances with the Metropolitan Opera, Sandra’s roles on the legendary stage include: Fiona in the much anticipated Metropolitan Opera premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys directed by Bartlett Sher in 2013; Mercédès in Sir Richard Eyre’s production of Carmen (also broadcast nationally on PBS and theatrically live in HD and available on DVD), Cherubino, Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, Rosette in Manon, Zulma in L’Italiana in Algeri, Dragonfly in L’Enfant et les  sortilèges, Third handmaiden in Sly, Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, Olga in Merry Widow, Third naked virgin in Moses und Aron and Flower Maiden  in Parsifal. Career highlights include numerous appearances to great acclaim as the title role of Carmen, at Portland Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera North (UK), Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Coeur d’Alene and Chicago Opera Theater.  Other signature roles include: Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte with Hyogo Performing Arts Center-Japan, Boston Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera; Rosina with Vancouver Opera, Opera Omaha, Austin Lyric Opera, Jacksonville Symphony, Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Crested Butte Music Festival; Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri with Atlanta Opera, Arizona Opera, Vancouver Opera, Boston Midsummer Opera and Austin Lyric Opera; Angelina in La Cenerentola with Spoleto Festival (USA), Austin Lyric Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Greensboro Opera; Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with the Metropolitan Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Atlanta Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Chicago Opera Theater; Meg in Mark Adamo’s Little Women with Glimmerglass Opera, Fort Worth Opera and Kentucky Opera; Idamante in Idomeneo with Boston Lyric Opera and Florentine Opera; Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Portland Opera and Opera Omaha and Don Ramiro in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera with Florida Grand Opera and the New York City Opera.  Sandra has also enjoyed success as: Juno/Ino in Handel’s Semele conducted by Maestra Jane Glover for the Florentine Opera; Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Portland Opera, Dinah in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and in her Carnegie Hall debut as Charmian in Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra with the New York City Opera. For more on Sandra Piques Eddy CLICK HERE

Anchorage fan favorite soloists make for an evening of unforgettable performances! Kaylee VardemanLisa WillisAnna Cometa, Dustin Jorgenson, Michael Smith, Kyle Gantz, Kate Egan and Judy Berry



Special guests, the Alaska Dance Theatre, will perform some of opera’s most beautiful choreographed scenes. A feast for the eye & the ear! adtwords-logocrop

The Anchorage Opera Chorus, made up entirely of local artists will perform opera’s most beloved choral scenes! chorus-carmenwith-logo-overlay

The Cast

Production Team

Jill Gardner – Soprano

Dinyar Vania, tenor

Kaylee Vardeman – Soprano

Lisa Willis – Mezzo Soprano

Kyle Gantz 150x150
Kyle Gantz – Bass Baritone

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Michael Smith –  Baritone

Jake Gardner– Bass Baritone

Sandra Piques Eddy– Mezzo soprano

Anna Cometa
Anna Cometa – Soprano

Dustin edited
Dustin Jorgenson – Tenor

Kate Egan
Kate Egan – Soprano

Judy Berry_CROP
Judy Berry – Soprano

DeMaris Headshot 3 (2012) - small
Conductor – Brian DeMaris

Stage Director – Teresa Pond


Richard Gordon 150x150
Chorus Master/Rehearsal Accompanist – Richard Gordon

Lynn Murphy_CROP
Stage Manager – Lynn Murphy

Free Pre-Opera Talks

Plan to join us one hour before each performance of our 55th Anniversary Opera Extravaganza to learn interesting background, tidbits of information and fascinating insights into the selections and composers featured in the show.

Friday, April 7 at 7:00 pm in the Discovery Theatre Parterre
Saturday, April 8 at 7:00 pm in the Discovery Theatre Parterre
Sunday, April 9 at 3:00 pm in the Discovery Theatre Parterre